Oct 28 2020

Review: The SonicWall SWS12-10FPOE Switch Simplifies Security

This new managed switch provides protection for small businesses all the way to the network edge.

As businesses grow, they often open new offices. However, many lack the resources and expertise to properly protect their IT infrastructure at smaller branches. Some branch offices are left to fend for themselves when it comes to cybersecurity. That’s an invitation for a breach that can negatively affect an entire organization.

The SonicWall SWS12-10FPOE managed switch was created with small businesses and branch offices in mind. While it can function perfectly well as a stand-alone switch with plenty of throughput and backplane to support traffic going through all of its ports, it really shines when added to a network with other SonicWall appliances.

If you have a SonicWall firewall protecting your network, even if it’s sitting at another physical location, then you can easily connect the two and allow the firewall to automatically configure the new switch. The zero-touch deployment takes about a minute to set up. Thereafter, whatever rules administrators use to protect their networks will apply to the switch, plus any device that connects to that switch for connectivity. 

The Switch Offers Easy Management

Once connected, I was able to manage the switch through the graphical interface on the SonicWall firewall. This included VLAN configuration, access rules, wireless connectivity and policies for any other devices that plugged into one of the switch’s ports.

Any changes made to the firewall can either apply to a specific switch or every switch that is using the firewall to manage its configuration. That way, several branch offices can have their cybersecurity controlled from a single location. Right now, each SonicWall firewall can support, automate and manage up to four switches. The company says that it will soon increase that capacity to eight switches per firewall.

You can control almost everything happening on the switch from the firewall, with the exception of some really deep applications or behaviors. For that, you can log directly into the switch. Although changes made locally will only apply to that switch, the graphical user interface is nearly identical, so users only need to learn one interface, even for deep tinkering. 

The SonicWall SWS12 switch can unify cybersecurity for small departments and branch offices, putting them on the same footing with the same protection as the core networks — and it can do it with no local expert required.

SonicWall SWS12-10FPOE Switch

Power Meets Responsibility in the SonicWall SWS12-10FPOE Switch

One of the wonders of modern networking is Power over Ethernet, or PoE. PoE devices get their power directly though the same Ethernet cables they use for networking. For IT professionals, that means not having to worry about running hundreds of power cables to every corner of the office. A single power cord going to a PoE hub can support whatever devices connect to it through their network cables.

The problem with PoE is that while it works great for low-power machines, some higher-functioning devices can get a little greedy. For example, a stationary webcam might only need a few watts of power to continually operate, but one that automatically adjusts, focuses and pivots around needs significantly more to drive its motors. 

Because most PoE hubs only have one power cord, the amount of extra passthrough power that can be fed to connected devices is limited. And like the saying goes, with great power comes great responsibility. If you don’t manage your PoE, some devices are going to shut down or operate poorly due to inefficient or unreliable power.

The SonicWall SWS12 switch handles this problem by adding deep power management to the suite of standard networking configuration options.

The switch can provide up to 130 watts of power, spread out over 10 ports, and each port can supply up to 30 watts of power. So, you can’t run all ports at full power without shortchanging something.

There are different ways to manage PoE devices through the port settings on the switch. The easiest is to simply assign a priority level to each device, running from critical at the top all the way down through high, medium and low. The switch will try to keep critical devices powered at all times, reducing or stopping power to lower-priority devices as needed.

You can also regulate the power granted to individual ports by assigning them a maximum power limit between zero and 30 watts. That way, with just a little math, you can ensure that you will never exceed the 130-watt limit.

PoE is a wonderful tool, especially for small offices or places where running lots of wires is difficult or impractical. Thankfully, the SonicWall SWS12 can help keep the power flowing, whether you have a couple of PoE devices attached or one docked in every port.

SonicWall SWS12-10FPOE Switch

DIMENSIONS: 13x9.1xi.1 inches
WEIGHT: 5.51 pounds

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